A dream in three parts
Dreamed 2006/5/22 by "Julian"
1: Pay no Attention to that Exobeetle Behind the Curtain
The U.S. government has resorted to draconian measures in order to conceal the existence of extraterrestrial life from the population. An invasion is occuring, but they will not admit it. Large areas of the country have been cordoned off. Saucers and strange armored vehicles like alien beetles are routinely seen. Civilian and military police are everywhere. Roads have turned to mud because everything is being spent on defense. Those who speak of danger are killed by the government. All buildings have become targets, fired on by compact, fast saucer machines in the air.
Those who have money (such as my mother and I) cobble together big cars fitted with any of various illegal modular weapons, or buy them ready-made from various "black shops." People like us have been forced to become "trekkers," moving around constantly, for safety's sake. In this dream, my mother and I are driving just such a car, in an elaborate and detailed virtual reality game. We could afford only a single light machine-gun built into the driver's-side door. We trundled down wet, narrow, winding roads. We passed through farmland with wet, dark soil, and splintered wooden fences made out of round beams. An official tried to stop us, asking questions. We ignored him, speeding past him.
We encountered one of the strange beetle vehicles. It was fitted with many articulated parts -- including facets, sharp bladed sections, bins, hoppers, suction hoses, box-like funnel devices, and so on. It moved on a combination of half-tracks, segmented mechanical legs, and thin, fast electric wheels. There was a long metal thing in the front, like an anteater nose. Long fiber-optic whiskers poked out from the nose object in all directions, feeling and probing. The whiskers saw the whole spectrum, all around. It had some spikes, and googly eye sensors recessed inside shiny copper ring segments. It was like a harvester from the planet Arrakis, yet feral and different. It was eager. It emoted things. It had been possessed by some kind of ancient spirit of the sort that a shaman might be able to negotiate with, and had become self-aware, comprising a new alien species. It was motivated by ratcheting some primal feeling up and down. It was determined, driven by steam and hydraulic fluids. But one got the feeling that it might have a family of similar large, shiny, intimidating gold-colored things left behind in some den it had built when it had arrived on Earth, and that the hybridized beetle machine thing would be chummy and protective towards its family.
As my mother and I drove along in the car, the beetle machine thing paced us -- by following along a parallel road in short, fast, scuttling spurts. It extended a number of antennae from under its wing covers. These antennae were sectioned and prehensile, like tentacles. An electromagnetic sensing mast spooled out and unfurled a small reflector dish, the end of which flicked in the direction of the car in an animalistic and jerky fashion, as if from a tic or muscle spasm. The car's electrical systems began to brown out. The car slowed. The car's drive mechanism became mushy, as if driving over a big bag full of Jello. The beetle machine thing had figured out what kind of electromagnetic signature the car had, and had guessed from this the type of interference necessary to impede the operation of the car. The car became more difficult to control. The beetle machine thing produced a squeaking, chittering sound, and made as if to sidle down the embankment in our direction. The front nose part on the beetle machine thing, which ended in a beady and fleshy veined globe with five nostrils, roved and moved. My mother fired a burst of warning shots in front of the beetle machine thing's nose. The beetle machine thing got back on the parallel road and trundled along out of sight, indifferent.
We stayed calm. We did not freak out. We drove away at medium speed. With the machine-gun, my mother hit one of those glowing game power-up bonus things. The power-up bonus thing gave us an additional machine-gun. This one was mounted in the passenger-side door, meaning that I could operate it. But I was not as skilled as my mother, so I was told to be careful, and not to use it without checking with her first.
The beetle machine thing had taken a curving route, choosing to skirt around the road and move in a slow, deliberate way. It squatted on its various motive assemblies, its orientation sideways on the horizon ahead. My mother told me to fire at the half-track assembly on the beetle machine thing. There was no effect. We drove quickly to the left, and then down the road, so we passed the beetle machine thing.
I grew bored. We agreed, "This game is difficult. We should try to leave the game. " I said, "I'll leave." We looked for a button in the car that I could press to leave the game, but either there wasn't any, or we couldn't find it. I looked down in my lap, and suddenly saw there a small, heavy trapezoidal box. It was angular, and had a clamshell handle, like a lunchbox or cooler. It was made of dark blue textured plastic. There was a big bold red button on one end. I pressed the button, expecting in that way to leave the game. But it didn't work! There was a short delay, then an insistent beeping sound began to come from the box. The beeping grew progressively louder and faster.
I was seized with a terrible fear, and opened the passenger door and hurled the box out underhand. Some seconds passed as we drove around a curve and the box receeded into the distance behind us. Then, as I slammed the door, I heard and saw the box consumed in a roiling, compact fireball. There was a low boom. It had been a plastic explosive charge, probably some kind of land mine.
Suddenly I found myself in a completely different game. We were in the future. My mother was there, also. We were two respected biohazard response experts from the Centers for Disease Control. We were there to inspect a big, impressive looking tubular spaceship that had been manufactured by humans, but had been found abandoned. The crew had all been Scandinavian. They were all missing. It was suspected that the ship had become infested by an alien biological something, or perhaps by a diverse community of many different symbiotic alien somethings, rather like a rainforest.
We were wearing special, spaceproofed coveralls. They were like those that are part of Racal Level IV biohazard isolation suits, and they had air tanks, yet they were different. I wore blue Gortex cargo pants, with bold yellow stripes down the sides. I wore a heavy silvered metal utility belt with a voice-interactive computer system, bristling with various bumpy modules and having an aperture in the front of the large buckle. The belt was partially covered by a bulky load bearing jacket, integrated with the pants. The jacket was like a top-of-the line policeman's model, held in place by special fasteners similar to metal clamps. Slits on the front allowed one to reach a pouch discreetly hidden under the front of the jacket. There was a high collar. Inside the collar was a folding airtight hood, with a big plastic window in the front.
We were not holding anything. We split up and started methodically conducting a circuit around each of the interior compartments, putting our backs to the wall and keeping in visual contact. We found the armory. It was a medium-sized rectangular plexiglass box, transparent and mounted like a wall display.
It had a lock, but nobody had locked it. It was full of old-fashioned slug throwers. There were IMI Desert Eagle .50 caliber pistols. (!) There were empty clips and several dozen loose rounds. There were also unfamilar caseless machine pistols. They might have been the planned, but cancelled, H&K MP11 PDWs. But they were skeletonized, featherweight, like paper. They were hollowed out, rectangular, and open at the back -- so you should see right from one end to the other. The ammunition was to be loaded horizontally. They had weird sliding sights on them. The sights were square, and covered with caution markings. The submachine guns were very ugly, striped in black, brown, and yellow. I first thought they were among the stupidest weapons for space personnel that I had ever seen. If one were to fire any of these weapons, I thought that they would punch holes through the hull of the ship that they were supposed to be used to protect. Then I saw that these big, heavy pistol bullets were the kind called "minus P," with very little gunpowder. They were also frangible. If they were fired, they would run out of energy very quickly, and if they penetrated anything, they would break apart and be stopped. And the submachine guns must have been "Metal Storm" guns, where you could stack bulllets in more than one barrel, then choose which barrel to fire, depending on the circumstances. They would have been safer to use aboard a spaceship than I had originally thought.
Each one of the modified Desert Eagles. lay on its side, with its barrel gripped by a dark electronic clamp. Each clamp was flat, and bolted into the case. I tried to take one, in case I encountered something dangerous later. I expected that the clamp would prevent me from taking it. The clamp opened.
Somewhat awkward and suprprised, I checked the gun over. As I expected, the chamber was empty and the clip had been removed. An empty clip stood in another clamp nearby; which I removed without difficulty. I took some of the loose rounds that were scattered inside the bottom of the case and carefully loaded them into the clip, then inserted the clip into the gun. I verified that the safety was on. Then I put the gun into the pouch under my jacket.
Meanwhile, my mother had found some kind of very precise handheld laser. She said that it seemed to be a surgical scalpel.
In our search for edvidence and information about what had happened to the crew, we proceeded into a cargo area of the ship. It was large, and rounded like a pod. It seemed empty, comfortable -- suffused with a pleasant, warm orange light from overhead lamps. There were very thin metal struts extending from from floor to ceiling all over the place. Everything in the cargo area was made of a shimmering orange metal. It looked like pitted copper, or red gold.
Out of nowhere, a thick, sinous, gelatinous, ropelike thing seemd to emerge from active visual camoflague directly in front of me. It was short and transulent, covered with fishy fronds and moving pseudopods, an iridescent silvery-green in color. It seemed to hover, soundless and twisting, in mid-air. At first it appeared non-threatening. But in an instant, it jolted me with a moderate electric shock, then vanished.
It had been something like a juvenile, interdimensional eel creature. I tried to back up. A short time later, the creature "blinked in" from a totally different angle. This time, in the course of shocking me, it bit me in the nose or mouth area. I tried to predict its momevents, but the thing was very fast and kept dissapearing. For some reason had to reveal itself just before it struck. I knew if I fired the pistol at it, the thing would just "blink out." I yelled and got help from my mother.
The next time the thing shocked me, she used the laser scalpel on the creature. It was so delicate that instead of being cut, the poor creature's outer layers caught on fire and burned brightly. It beacame like molten glass, long and stringy and flowing in globs. It slowed and was unable to hide again, but still appeared to be alive and trying to heal itself. I grabbed it. Then, I shoved the thing, starting with the midsection, into the aperture on my belt buckle, knowing instinctively that that was what was supposed to be done with biohazardous things, like this creature. I realized that the inside of my belt was hollow, and that the aperture in the buckle was a self-sterilizing airlock with a constant negative pressure. The creature was sucked inside, and I heard a sound like a washing machine coming from inside the belt. The inside of the belt was being filled with caustic sterilization chemicals, and there came a weird fishy shriek of death.
Then it occured to me that I should take a spacewalk, to see if there was any evidence or any damage on the outside of the ship. I went to the ship's very big, automated airlock. As I was going through the various procedures, the ship's computer presented me with a number of different choices about whether I should change the type of airtight suit I was wearing, or keep the one I already wore. I chose a compromise, by adding another module onto the suit I was already wearing, which I had not even known was possible. It was a big tented thing protruding from the side, like a sidecar for a spacesuit. It was empty, but designed to allow someone to carry up to two babies along on a spacewalk. After I made this choice, the ship's computer asked if the reason I had made it was because I was "an old person" who "needed extra assistance." I said that this wasn't the case, but that I just liked space suits with lots of extra room. I left the ship and floated out into space.
3: The Duke Who Never Existed
Suddenly and unexpectedly, I was at the introduction screen to a third, radically different type of virtual reality game. My mother was not there. Now, I was a medieval English intelligence officer en route to Spain. My cover was to say that I was a Count in charge of part of the Angevin Empire (the name of the Empire that England once had when its territory included a big part of France). If anyone asked, I was to say that I had been sent to Spain to accomplish unspecified "business" for a certain nonexistent Englishman called "Duke Godo." I had false letters of credence, together with various other pocket litter or window dressing, and a fancy set of clothes with baldric and cape. The handlers had carefully sent up backstops both in England and abroad, so that if any Spaniard checked on me, for example by cross-referencing in the Peerages, then there really would appear to be a "Duke Godo," and everything else would also appear genuine.
But in fact, the real task was to find out whether there was a Spanish plot underway, to do some bad thing in connection with the British Crown Jewels. It was suspected that they intended to steal them, or perhaps they had already begun to do so. There were indications that the plan might to steal them in several trips, perhaps by substituting fakes. I was supposed to find out who, if anyone, really intended to do this. How high did the plot go? Had it already started? Was there a powerful jewelry theft ring in Spain that had already succeded in stealing important jewels from other countries? Could I find proof? According to the orders I had recieved, if I found proof, then I was allowed to use force to prevent the Crown Jewels from being stolen, or to get them back. However, the plot might turn out to be too far advanced for me to be able to stop it. If that was the case, then I would no longer be allowed to use force, but as part of a revenge campaign, I was allowed to steal valuable things from the Spaniards if I got the opportunity.
The task seemed confusing and difficult. I was fairly confident, but not sure I would do well in the game. Then I woke up. Only after I woke up did I realize that "godo" means "goth" in Spanish.
NOTES IN THE MORNING
Few dreamers have Julian's precise, formidable recall, but others do exist: see epic dreams below. There's a hallucinatory exactness to such dreams; it's easy to get lost in the details. But I do see an overall progression--notice how the dream-games get steadily subtler, less violent and more intellectual? And Julian grows from a hapless sidekick in the first to an independent agent by the third.
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